I haven't lost these interests but life revolves around my kids now. I love them more than I ever imagined possible and I enjoy every (well, almost every) minute with them. We spend 24/7 together. When we read, we read Dr. Seuss, Elmo or other age appropriate books. We listen to kid music. We play kid games and do kid things. Now, with Bean, we spend a minimum of five hours a week in therapy and lots of time in doctor offices. It's intense and by the time I get them to sleep at night, I'm too exhausted to do much for myself.
I am a mom, and more specifically, a mother to a child with special needs. But I'm more than that. I am a wife, a sister, a daughter, a professional and a friend. I enjoy so-called intellectual activities and fun just for the sake of fun. I think it's important to have balance in life and while my children are my top priority, I know I would be a better mother if I made room for some of the things that I enjoyed before kids, too.
It has been hard for me to focus on anything besides parenting but I need to for myself, my husband, my kids and all of my relationships. I spend so much time with my kids and so much time learning about Bean's challenges and ways to help him that I sometimes have a hard time talking about anything else. They are pretty amazing and inspiring, after all.
I've been making an effort, though, to bring better balance to my life. I don't expect or want things to be like they were before kids. I love my life. I love my boys. But I do want more.
For one, I started this blog. Yes, it's about my kids but it's really for me. I am thinking and writing and loving every minute.
I started going back to yoga on Saturday mornings. I'll be missing a couple of weeks because we have so much going on but I really love it when I do go. In a way, it helps me "reset" my system for the week.
It's hard to get out and do things without the kids because Bean is still so dependent on me for sleeping and eating but we are working hard to create opportunities to do this. I don't want to be away from them much but I would like to go out every now and then to spend some time with my husband and my friends.
The next, and biggest step for me though will be to go back to work. I wrote about my desire to work again here and it hasn't changed. I know that I will be incredibly sad to be away from Baby J and Bean for any length of time but I really, really need to get back to my career. For them and me. I look just about every day and for a while, it wasn't such a big deal because there wasn't much out there. But now, I'm starting to see interesting positions open up in my field. I want so badly to start a real search but I still have a few things holding me back. Again, namely sleep and feeding issues. But it will happen. And it will be soon.
When I do get back to work and when I do other grown-up activities, I will still be a mom. I will still parent a child with special needs. But I will feel better balance in my life. I know it's not the right decision for all families but it is right for me. Baby J and Bean are the most important aspect of my life but I can't let their needs completely consume my existence. I have to do more. In the end, I will be better able to meet their needs as well as mine.